Bread head: why you need migas in your life to help use up that stale loaf | Waste not

Stale bread? Tear it up, fry in oil, then mix with paprika, chorizo, mushroom and top with a fried egg … to think one of the best breakfasts ever could’ve ended up in the bin

Migas, which means “crumbs” in Spanish, is a traditional Spanish staple that’s eaten all over the country for breakfast, lunch and dinner. To make it, stale bread is torn up, rehydrated, then fried with lots of olive oil, garlic and herbs.

Depending on where you are in Spain, it can be flavoured with a wide variety of ingredients, including sweet paprika, chorizo, morcilla (a savoury blood sausage) and bell peppers, though in the frugal spirit of much Spanish peasant cookery, it can be made with just about any leftovers you have to hand. Today’s version features fried mushrooms, which make a particularly tasty, plant-based take on the dish, but you could swap them out for all sorts of other leftover vegetables or meat, and flavour it with paprika.

Mushroom migas with oloroso

Migas is the ultimate “waste not” dish, transforming stale bread into a delicious, filling and flavoursome meal with the addition of just a few choice ingredients. Meaty mushrooms work particularly well, especially with the addition of rich oloroso sherry. When I’m very hungry, I love eating migas for breakfast, flavoured with paprika, peppers and kale, topped with a fried egg, and with a few grapes on the side.

Serves 4

3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves
3 small sprigs thyme, oregano or
200g chestnut or flat mushrooms
(or your mushrooms of choice), roughly chopped
1 small onion, peeled and diced
1 200g piece stale bread (wholemeal sourdough, for preference)
25ml oloroso, to finish, optional
Salt and black pepper

Put a tablespoon of the oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over a medium-low heat. Lightly bash the garlic with the flat of a large knife, leaving the skins on, then add to the hot oil with the herbs, so they flavour the oil.

Add the mushrooms and chopped onion, and saute, stirring, for about 10 minutes, until dark and rich, then transfer the mushrooms to a plate.

While the mushrooms are cooking, soak the bread in a bowl of water until it softens, then squeeze out any excess water and rip or cut the bread into 1-2cm pieces. The bread should be damp and fluffy but not wet.

Put the pan back on the heat with two more tablespoons of oil, then add the pieces of bread (carefully, because they might spit) and fry, stirring regularly, for five to 10 minutes, until lightly golden. Return the mushrooms to the pan with the sherry, if using, until reheated, then season and serve.


Tom Hunt

The GuardianTramp

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